South African Traffic Cops: Friends or F*#tards?


A series of brutally flashing blue lights illuminate your rear view mirror one night. An overweight boy-scout adorned in uniform slowly approaches your window; you breathe deep from your throat, as if to hide the feint musk of those 3 and half glasses of indulgent sauvignon-blanc. “Good evening sir” he belches in a way that makes 3 simple words sound like broken English. “Do you have any idea why I pulled you over this evening?” Your trembling hands and fruitless innocence quietly mumble back “No sir, I have no idea”, a moment of deafening silence as you picture a tattooed papa eagerly “wagging” just for you. “Well neither do I” he responds. “But I will require R500”. Without hesitating the money backflips out your wallet, Jack Bauer of the highway retreats back to his van, and the streets are once again safe to drive. Justice is served, it’s the South African Traffic service, and theyre great at keeping the peace. Ish. I have to beg the question, are our highway police the custodians of law, or have they cottoned onto the best get-rich-quick scheme since Pamela Anderson discovered silicone?

As motorists we are all accustomed to that gut curdling fit of rage when we return to our cars and find that pink ticket flustering peacefully in the wind. Parked in a loading zone? 42cm over the yellow line? Expired license disk? 19 Zimbabweans waiting patiently in the heat to be transported over the border? You have been gone all of 10 minutes, but some sneaky rascal has identified a menial transgression, and now you’re in debt. Ever driven down Somerset road at 9am? I do, nearly every day. Once a week a camouflaged renegade, previously used to covertly infiltrate Congolese prison camps, lies perfectly hidden trapping anyone exceeding 60km/h. And then that post comes. The only letter I get where I have to tear off both sides. They claimed victory, I have lost, and my hair is a total mess in that speeding photo.


But with a Pantheon of fees collected, does this make our roads safer? With bags of loot these road pirates have pilfered are traffic laws ever really enforced beyond that which can create income? May I present Exhibit A.) The minibus taxi. Why use an indicator when hazard lights will do? Why have single lane roads when sidewalks are so easily mounted? Red lights are inconveniences rather than legislation, abrupt stops are more expected than driving in a straight line and only speeds of 20km/h or 130km/h are permissible. Yet these violations go with impunity. Well why wouldn’t they? According to the City of Durban, taxi owner Kenneth Melvin Oliver racked up R1.6 million in fines in two years, unpaid of course. The Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RITA) say that in Joburg alone taxis owe over R1.7 Billion worth of fines, of which only 9% had been paid. So why even bother? Your loading zone Polo is the Louis Vuitton of the traffic cop world, and that Toyota Hi-Ace is a Mr Price hand-me-down.


Out of countries surveyed, South Africa ranked last in the International Transport Forum’s report on road fatalities, with 28 deaths per 100 000 inhabitants, worse than India and Malaysia, where driving is the equivalent to open heart surgery with a coat hanger. This also manages to cost the economy over R300 Billion a year. Where are the cops? Why aren’t they enforcing basic rules? Well the bad ones are technically being routed out; there has been a 37% increase in criminal cases against officers in 2013. But just this morning we hear of 4 Sandton officers still on duty despite being charged with corruption. So I plead with transport minister Dipuo Peters, take drastic action. Straight up fuck taxis who consistently break the law even if they threaten strikes through their mafiaeqsue conglomerates. Brilliantly done on consistent road blocks, I will give you that. You cant make it from Town to Sea point after 4 beers without probably seeing Jon Mongrel, but it needs to be shaprer, it needs to be better, and it needs to instil confidence in the public, not a fear of them being ripped off.



*Follow @Stroobz on Twitter as manages to wheel spin a Smart Car, and takes the world of tricycling by storm.

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  1. So true…the also sit at the bottom of lower long, blocking the entire road off to pull over people into a Myciti bus stop. So when the bus get’s there, the entire road is blocked….Multiple traffic violations on their part, for that sake of catching an old lady on the way to work. doesn’t make too much sense to me.

    1. I can just imagine the debacle caused as a result …

      Almost as bad as seeing a minibus-taxi-driver driving through a red robot ASSUMING it’s green for him , and the robot is at a very BUSY
      4-way-intersection …

  2. Apparently I was AWARDED a fine of R 200 …for going 72 KM/h …
    in a 60KM/h zone …

    But yeah I have seen some cars being AWARDED numerous fines…

    I think the breakdown is the following (what I’ve noticed irl)

    R 500 : for NO licence disc

    R 300 : for NOT displaying it on the window

    R 300 : no number plate (x 2 if you are missing both)

    Ofcourse if you see a car that looks like it’s stolen and the vehicle gets impounded – it’s going to cost quite a bit more to get it back…

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